Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Bad Boy Dress is Ready to Go

This Burda 08/09 #113 was made from a panne velvet fabric that acted like a bad boy the entire time that I was sewing. I even used a roller foot. The foot helped but the fabric was still a challenge. When I wasn't fighting the fabric, I was fighting the confusing Burda instructions. In the middle of this "exciting" experience, some thread got caught in the bobbin case. Big Bertha (my Bernina) simply refused to move along the fabric. Naturally, I thought it was the fabric, the needle or the tension. I nearly panicked. I finally tried to sew on some cotton and, of course, it didn't sew any better. I even rethreaded and didn't notice the caught thread. I didn't see it until I tried different thread as a last ditch effort before taking it to the dealer. Of course, my machine is due for her annual check-up, but not in the middle of making a dress! When I saw the problem I felt so STUPID. There were so many times that this dress almost went into the waste bin. Now that the pain and suffering has subsided I do like the dress and plan to wear it to a concert next week. After looking at the picture, I don't like the tights and shoes with it. I look too much like an old maid school m'am. (Note: I'm referring to the dowdy look. I know a number of single school teachers who look quite chic.) The major difficulty that I had with the Burda instructions were the direction for attaching the facing. I did read Dawn's blog where she just eliminated them and added stretch elastic for support. I planned to do that until I started working with the bad boy panne velvet. It just didn't hang smoothly and got bunchy and ucky looking. Sooo I went back to studying the directions for facings and, finally figured them out. At least, I think I did and was able to attach the facings. Here is the bodice before the facings are attached. There is a lining piece that is sewed right sides together to the front section and turned inside out before attaching the side fronts. I used a stretchy knit fabric that did work well. The center front section is gathered.

Here the facings are attached to the back, sleeve, and side front in the standard manner,
I sewed a piece of seam binding to the front edge to control those gathers. I would have preferred to use stretch lace but only had red and bright blue colors (ugh for this dress). I then folded the front edge level with the facings and hand stitched to the lining.
After attaching the bodice and skirt, I started to sew the casting for the elastic at the waist. Fortunately, I did a "try-on". Sewing the elastic where Burda said created a muffin top and made me look like someone from Alice in Wonderland (can't remember the character's name). Anyway, it looked ridiculous. I did remember Carolyn's wise words: just because the pattern says to do it one way doesn't mean you can't do it differently. I put the casting and elastic below the waist and on the skirt rather than the top. Yep! It's done and ready to go. The blood (from pin pricks), sweat, and tears didn't even stain it!

Since I finished this dress, I made a pair of pullon pants and the HP Sunshine top that I'll post about when I get pictures. Today I traced the pattern for a pair of shorts. It was 80 degrees and I was ready to wear them. I certainly was not in the mood to sew the wool skirt that is cut out and ready to sew. Who knows - We could have temperatures in the 30s next week! Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of Spring and Summer and all the great new patterns out there. My February Burda even came today with several tempting garments crying to be made.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

On the Wild Side

My first project of the new year is a finish-up: the S2603 DNKY cozy tank. That finishes my Heidi Klum sort-of knock off. I love it! I really like the way that the two fabrics go together although it is a bit wild for my normal wardrobe. Also, it's comfy which is always a plus for me. Here's the tank alone:

I'm sure that I'll make this tank many times. Finally, my tenacity paid off. I got a knit with a band to fit. I can use the band on my TNT t-shirt or add sleeves to this tank. Yea! There is lots of fun ahead as I play with my stash and USE it!

My original plan was to photograph this outfit next to the "jungle" in the lot next door. Of course, the two cute little deer who live there were expected to make an appearance for the photo shot. It's just too dern cold. Remember, everything is relative and we Floridians shake when the temperature is in the 30s. I believe that my photographer's hands would shake too much for a decent photo. In fact, my sewing was interrupted yesterday afternoon when hubbie announced that there were frost warnings. We picked oranges, peppers, snow peas, and sugar snaps. Then, we spent another 2-3 hours covering the herb garden, the vegetable garden, the roses, and the water pipes with frost cloth. We have frost warnings for the next two nights. Brrrrr!

I have to do some bragging. My daughter, Blakely, stopped to visit on her way to a 12 hour bike race in South Florida. She won 3rd place and $100. Way to go, girl! Here's a picture of her as she was leaving us. Yes, she is wearing shorts. You'd think that she was from PA. She did say that the Floridians in the race were wearing layers of clothes. She was warm and toasty in her shorts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Results are In

I've been pondering my 2009 accomplishments (or lack of) for the past couple of days after tallying up the results. The year 2009 was okay for me with lots of ups and downs. There were few big "ups" and lots of non-serious "downs". I even thought about the value of doing goals which are only met partially. I decided there is value is reviewing at least once a year and deciding the direction for the new year. It's kinda like a pattern guide sheet. They are written to be used but followed only if it makes sense at the time. So, on with the results:

1. Each season I will make at least 4 co-ordinated garments from my current stash. For Winter, I will finish the 11 garment SWAP (in process) by March 31. I figure the best way to handle my fabric buying addiction is to work on projects from my stash.

I finished 9 of the 11 garment winter SWAP, 3 for Spring (with buttonholes remaining on the 4th), all 4 for Summer, and never even thought about a wardrobe for Fall. While the wardrobe planning does help, I do get bored about the 3rd or 4th garment and move on to other things. I think that I need to focus more on outfits. Maybe I could handle one wardrobe doing the year. I pulled out some beautiful fabric for this year's SWAP. While the colors co-ordinated, the type of fabric did not work together for a plan. I finally decided that I really didn't want to do it. The major purpose of this goal was to reduce stash which did not work at all. Fabric seems to talk to me with screams of "take me home", "the colors are perfect", "I will go with.....", etc. etc. I love my fabric stash but it simply cannot grow in 2010. The only person that I know who is concerned with stash build-up and actually conquered it in 2009 is Shannon. Maybe I will try her approach to earning dollars by excercise. At least, I would keep track of dollars spent which will scream "don't" and may be louder than the fabric.

2. I will check that have enough run-around clothes (go to the store, soccer games, etc.) and fill in the gaps with mostly easy-to-sew garments.

This goal was almost accomplished as a lot of what I made fit into this category. I still need to sew a few more of this type of garment - a couple of pullon pants and a few t-shirts would complete it. Maybe I need to follow Gwen's "stack and whack" approach or is it "whack and stack"? Whatever....I'll cut out the pants and t-shirts so they'll be ready to sew when I need a break from more challenging projects. (There's not going to be any new patterns that look simple for my easy-sewing time.)

3. In the beginning of the year, I will focus on polishing basic skills and progress with new techniques. By the end of the year, I will make at least one tailored jacket and/or coat. I really want to make a coat and won't feel like a real seamstress until I do.

I worked on this goal all year but didn't get as far as the tailored jacket and/or coat. I plan on that happening in 2010.

4. I will play Tim Gunn: clean out my clothes and make some basic black and white garments.

Tim Gunn has the right idea (I think). I did clear out some of my clothes closet but didn't finish it. There weren't any black and white garments made. I do have the fabric and patterns :). This goal will carry over to 2010.

5. I will improve my computer skills. At a minimum, I'll figure out what is going on with my Sewing Reviews and complete a storyboard.

I did figure out the problems with the Sewing Reviews but haven't done them regularly. That will change in 2010. I appreciate the reviews others do and want to give back as much as I can. The storyboard was not done, but I did figure out the problem. I have a 5-year old, very faithful computer but it's too old to handle the new programs that I have. It could be updated with more RAM and a new graphic card, but the cost is high and the fix temporary. I'm having a new computer built and will tackle all the re-installing programs "joys" in the near future.

Overall, I completed 30 garments which is 6 more than 2008 and more than I thought I'd done. I had a couple of months where I was a sewing maniac (wonderful times!!). I used 56 yards of fabric and bought a lot more than that. The breakdown is:

17 Tops
7 Pants
3 Skirts
2 Cardigans
1 Dress

The goals for 2010:

1. Earn purchases for my hobby by excercising ($10 for every hour). This includes all purchases -fabric, patterns, notions, and accessories.

2. Make a vintage dress.

3. Make 6 jackets and/or coats (includes cardigans) using tailoring techniques on at least one.

4. Finish organizing my clothes in the Tim Gunn fashion.

5. Learn to knit and complete at least one something.

6. Enter one Pattern Review Contest.

Now that the goal "guides" are listed and the wonderful holiday festivities are over, I'm ready to get to work on a , hopefully, very productive new year. Hugs and kisses to everyone who has left a comment on my blog. Those comments mean soooo much.

Happy New Year!!!!